For many who lived nearby, the house at 94 Dole Avenue was simply a home on a quiet Crystal Lake block. But the death of a young child earlier this year revealed the alleged horrors that went on inside the dwelling, which will now forever be known as the home where AJ Freund died.
The dilapidated home currently sits boarded up, condemned by the city of Crystal Lake as the property remains tied up in foreclosure litigation.
In April, Andrew Freund Sr. and Joann Cunningham were accused of fatally beating their 5-year-old child inside the home and burying his body in a field in a nearby suburb.
It's the tragic details neighbors said they can never forget.
“It’s such a reminder,” said resident Janelle Butler. “We’re ready for it. We want to move on.”
In a complaint filed with McHenry County on July 10, the city requested to demolish the property, noting the more than $100,000 it would cost to repair the home.
A May inspection revealed risks to the public, deeming the property unsafe following multiple violations. Inspectors found black mold, a rodent infestation, excessive trash, broken utilities, exposed wires and no working smoke detectors, records showed.
"I think it’s unhealthy sitting here to be honest, with the rodents and things that come to that type of a mess," Butler said.
Some residents said they support tearing it down and others have suggested on social media that a memorial park be built on the lot, honoring the child whose death shook not just the northwest Chicago suburb, but the country.
"It was such a hard thing for everybody to go through equally hard to look at," Butler said.
A foreclosure hearing for the property is scheduled for Aug. 8 in McHenry County court.